Saturday, May 29, 2010

CSF Baseball on Twitter

Titan Fans:

Another postseason is upon us, the Titans' 19th consecutive appearance in the playoffs that hopefully will yield another trip to Omaha and maybe the program's fifth national championship.

We at CSF Baseball will be using Twitter to update you on all the postseason action, including updates from Fullerton games, scores from other regionals and super regionals, and rankings, pairings and news.

If you can't be at your computer or watch the games on TV, you can keep up with all the action on your mobile phone by following our tweets. Just go to our Twitter page, or download a Twitter app on your phone.

Go Titans!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Diamond Club Newsletter (May 30, 2010)

CSF Baseball will continue to host and archive the Diamond Club newsletters throughout the 2010 season. Click on each page to enlarge:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cal State Northridge Series Preview

By FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton (38-15, 18-3) already had the Big West conference championship wrapped up going into last weekend’s non-conference series with Santa Clara but the Titans didn’t play like they didn’t have anything to play for in sweeping the Broncos by scores of 8-0, 6-4 and 18-11. Leading the way at the plate for against Santa Clara were Carlos Lopez (7-12, HR, 8 RBI), Corey Jones (6-9, HR, 5 RBI), Richie Pedroza (6-13, 2 RBI) and Tyler Pill (5-8, HR, RBI). The Titans won their fourth game in a row and 20th in their last 22 games on Tuesday night with a 5-2 victory against #7 UCLA to win both midweek games the teams have played this season. The win over UCLA could potentially have major implications when the NCAA announces the regional field next Monday. Fullerton is hitting .383 and averaging 9.4 runs per game during their 22 game run. Jones (16 games), Pill and Nick Ramirez (11 games) have lengthy hitting streaks going and Pedroza had his 16 game hitting streak snapped against UCLA.

The starting pitching for Fullerton wasn’t quite as dominant against Santa Clara like it was the previous two weekends but they did more than enough to put the Titans in position to win all three games. Daniel Renken was solid on Saturday and won his eighth consecutive start in allowing four runs in eight innings but the highlight of the weekend was Noe Ramirez throwing eight shutout innings on Friday, allowing only four hits and no walks with 11 K’s, and he won the Big West pitcher of the week award, the third straight week that Fullerton has had a pitcher receive that week honor. The Titans will get ready for regional play by finishing their regular season this weekend at Goodwin Field with a Big West series against the Cal State Northridge Matadors.

Cal State Northridge (29-24, 9-12) thought they had a chance to be better after finishing next to last in the Big West in 2009 with an experienced roster returning both at the plate and on the mound. The Matadors have already clinched a winning record for the first time in Steve Rousey’s eight year tenure as the head coach and by winning a game this weekend can also get into double digits in conference wins for the first time under Rousey. Northridge was on a 10-2 run against the soft part of their non-conference schedule going into Big West play before receiving a dose of reality when they were swept at home by UC Irvine. The Matadors played inconsistently after the Irvine series and lost four of their next six series, including getting swept at Riverside two weeks ago, but Northridge has been on a roll recently in winning five of their last six games including a sweep last weekend at home of Long Beach State.


Northridge was a poor hitting team in 2009 when they hit .270 with a .359 OBP and .373 SLG % while averaging six runs per game and hitting only 32 HR’s (7th or lower in the Big West in each of those categories) despite playing in the best hitters park in the conference. The Matadors lost their best hitter from last season and a couple of other starters but figured they should be better offensively and they definitely have been with a .308 AVG, .384 OBP and .462 SLG % while averaging seven runs per game and hitting 49 HR’s (2nd or 3rd in the Big West in each of those categories). Northridge will work counts and swing for the fences because they are also 3rd in the conference in walks and strikeouts. The Matadors won’t bunt much with only 24 SAC’s this season (13 by two players) but they will try to run when they get on base and trail only Fullerton in the Big West with 83 SB’s and are efficient when they run with a 78% success rate.

Northridge traditionally has one of the poorer defensive teams in the Big West and that is the case again this season because the Matadors are last in the conference with 85 errors and a .959 FLD % after making 100 errors for a .956 FLD % in 2009. Northridge made at least four errors in seven straight series (six errors in four of them) before making only two errors in last weekend’s sweep of Long Beach. The middle infield defense for the Matadors has been pretty solid with only 14 errors by their starters but a major issue for Northridge has been the pitchers hurting their own cause by making 19 errors.


Northridge returned experienced players at each position except behind the plate, although there has been shuffling around at a couple of positions.

C – JC transfer #31 Dominic Piazza (LH – .292/.351/.358, 1-17-0) has taken over behind the plate after both C’s from 2009 moved on and he has done a decent job hitting and on defense. He will usually hit 8th and has gone 4-11 in his three starts over the last week. Runners are 33-43 on SB attempts against Piazza and Northridge has allowed 42 WP’s, the 3rd fewest in the Big West. FR #14 Marty Bowen (RH – .276 in 58 AB’s) has started 12 games and will probably start once this weekend.

1B – JR #30 Dominic D’Anna (LH – .348/.426/.552, 8-47-2; ‘09 stats – .326/.410/.587, 7-32-0) has struggled with injuries in his first two years (missed the last 20 games in 2009) but has played in every game this season and been a productive hitter, ranking in the top ten in the Big West in HR, RBI, 2B and BB and he has a solid 26-32 BB/K ratio for a power hitter. D’Anna is the cleanup hitter and has gone 8-23 with 4 RBI over his last five games. He is a solid athlete around the 1B bag and does a good job on defense. D’Anna went 4-13 with an HR and 6 RBI in last year’s series against Fullerton.

2B – JR #17 Ryan Pineda (RH – .333/.404/.621, 16-66-24; ’09 stats – .294/.385/.500, 10-44-2) was the Big West FR of the Year in 2008 and has moved all over the diamond his first two seasons, playing 3B, 1B and OF, before settling in at 2B this year. He hits 3rd, has been one of the best players in the conference and leads the Big West in HR and RBI and is 2nd in SB. Pineda is also in the top ten in the conference in R, H, TB and SLG. The only thing that Pineda struggles with is striking out and he is 7th in the Big West with 43 K’s. Pineda has been swinging a hot stick over the last four games, going 8-18 with 2 HR and 8 RBI. Despite playing 2B for the first time, he has been solid defensively and committed only six errors for a .973 FLD %. Pineda went 3-13 in last year’s series against Fullerton and is 7-26 in his career against the Titans.

SS – JR #2 TS Reed (RH – .319/.371/.388, 0-23-11; ’09 stats – .234/.317/.266, 0-9-7) is in his third year as a starter in the middle infield, starting at 2B as a FR and at SS the last two seasons. Reed will hit 9th, has good speed (10th in the Big West in SB) and leads the team with 7 SAC’s. He does not have much power with only 7 extra base hits. Reed has good range and has been solid defensively, making only eight errors for a .962 FLD %. He went 2-13 in last year’s series against Fullerton and is 5-26 in his career against the Titans.

3B – JR #28 Justin DeMarco (RH – .311/.416/.480, 5-27-3; ’09 stats – .246/.338/.322, 2-18-3) has been one of the most improved players offensively and is very patient at the plate (3rd in the Big West in BB) with an outstanding 29/21 BB/K ratio. DeMarco has moved over to 3B after playing most of the time at 2B in 2009. He will usually hit 6th or 7th and has cooled off recently, going 1-16 in his last four starts. DeMarco is 2nd on the team with 6 SAC’s. He has struggled with the move to 3B and is 4th in the Big West with 14 errors and has a .908 FLD %. DeMarco went 2-11 in last year’s series against Fullerton and is 3-21 in his career against the Titans.

JC transfer #1 Brad Decater (RH – .337/.427/.523, 4-23-2) has played occasionally at 2B and 3B. Decater has been a productive hitter when he has been in the lineup but is a poor defensive player (6 E’s, .850 FLD %).


Northridge lost their main CF from 2009 but returned players who have experience at playing all three OF positions.

LF – JC transfer #11 Ridge Carpenter (RH – .298/.374/.399, 2-30-19) has excellent speed (3rd in the Big West in SB) and has very good range in LF. He usually hits 6th or 7th and was swinging a hot bat against Long Beach, going 6-10 and scoring 6 R’s last weekend. Carpenter does have trouble making contact and leads the conference with 54 K’s.

CF – Soph #51 Drew Muren (LH – .294/.393/.406, 3-21-11; ’08 stats – .270/.317/.351, 1-14-2) was a medical redshirt in 2009 but has done a solid job as the leadoff hitter and leads the team with 12 HBP. He also has good speed (10th in the Big West in SB), covers ground well in CF and has a solid arm (came into Northridge as a P/OF). Muren also struggles with making contact and is 5th in the conference with 45 K’s.

RF – SR #25 C.J. Belanger (LH – .369/.438/.576, 4-42-5; ‘09 stats – .233/.332/.294, 0-12-6) was a part-time starter the three previous seasons before securing a full-time spot in RF as the #2 hitter in the lineup. He has been a key hitter during Northridge’s recent surge, going 10-17 over the last four games with an HR and 10 RBI to move into the top ten in the Big West in AVG. Belanger also has good speed, is in the top five in the Big West in 3B’s and has experience playing CF so he has good range for a RF. He went 1-8 in last year’s series against Fullerton and is 5-30 in his career against the Titans.

DH – FR #15 Alex Muren (RH – .270/.378/.514 in 37 AB’s, 1-6-0) barely played all season but has been in the lineup the past five games, going 3-17 over the last week.

FR #7 Nate Ring (RH – .308/.382/.486, 2-16-3) has been the 4th OF and was splitting time at DH with Decater before Muren was moved into the DH spot last week.


Despite being next to last in the Big West standings in 2009, Northridge had some solid pitching numbers and they were 4th in the Big West with a 4.97 ERA. The Matadors returned pitchers who started 41 of 56 games last season and expected to do as well or better on the mound but they have regressed with a 5.76 ERA (7th in the conf), have given up 54 HR’s (last in the conf). and have allowed opponents to hit .300 and none of their SP’s have an ERA under 5.00. Northridge lost several key relievers from last season but their closer has stepped up to do a solid job. The Matadors will throw often to 1B to hold runners close but after being one of the leaders in the nation with 32 pickoffs they have only picked off 10 runners this season.


Fri SP – SR #13 Billy Ott (RHP – 2-1, 5.79 ERA, 3 saves, 19 apps, 3 starts, 56 IP, 67 H, 24 BB, 31 K, .305 BA, 7 HR, 5 HBP, 3 WP) was one of Northridge’s SP’s last year (’09 stats – 1-4, 5.83 ERA, 17 apps, 10 starts, 76 IP, 88 H, 20 BB, 51 K, .292 BA, 8 HR) but was working primarily as a long reliever this season before moving into the rotation last week and he held down Long Beach for 7 2/3 IP, allowing 2 R on 9 H. He is a strike thrower who has allowed only 1 BB in 16 IP over his last three appearances. Ott’s longest relief outings before last week were 5 IP (4 R, 8 H) against Irvine and 4 1/3 IP (3 R, 4 H) against UCSB. He has not done a good job of holding baserunners (8-9 SB’s). Ott allowed three runs in the only inning he has pitched against Fullerton.

Sat SP – Soph #4 Justen Gorski (RHP – 4-2, 5.89 ERA, 1 save, 18 apps, 3 starts, 44 IP, 59 H, 15 BB, 26 K, .326 BA, 5 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP) was a swingman last season (’09 stats – 1-4, 5.29 ERA, 13 apps, 5 starts, 34 IP, 43 H, 6 BB, 18 K, .316 BA, 4 HR) and was also working primarily as a long reliever before going into the starting rotation two weeks ago. He got an early hook at Riverside after allowing 3 R in 4 1/3 IP but had a strong start against Long Beach last week when he went 7 IP and allowed 2 R on 7 H. Gorski is also a strike thrower and he didn’t allow any walks against Long Beach. He does a good job of holding baserunners (2-6 SB’s). Gorski allowed 5 R on 8 H in 5 1/3 IP in his start against Fullerton last season.

Sun SP – TBA.

JR #32 Ryan Juarez (RHP – 3-6, 5.06 ERA, 14 starts, 1 CG, 80 IP, 96 H, 28 BB, 53 K, .288 BA, 10 HR, 5 HBP, 8 WP) has been in the rotation most of the last three seasons (’09 stats – 7-5, 4.89 ERA, 14 starts, 85 IP, 95 H, 30 BB, 37 K, .291 BA, 7 HR) and was the Fri SP most of the season and after allowing 1 R in a CG win at Pacific had a 3.77 ERA. Since then, he has gotten progressively worse and allowed 22 R in 14 IP over his last four starts, including 5 R in 4 2/3 IP against Long Beach. Juarez has been the Sun SP the last three weeks. He also has very good control but has had trouble with getting too much of the plate and giving up HR’s. Juarez does a poor job of holding baserunners (9-11 SB’s). He was effective in his start against Fullerton last season when he allowed 3 R on 7 H in 7 1/3 IP after allowing 7 R on 8 H in 4 2/3 IP in his start against the Titans in 2008.

JR #24 Paul Tremlin (RHP – 6-6, 5.82 ERA, 17 apps, 12 starts, 1 CG, 68 IP, 74 H, 25 BB, 50 K, .279 BA, 12 HR, 4 HBP, 2 WP) leads the staff in wins for the second straight season (’09 stats – 7-1, 5.48 ERA, 20 apps, 6 starts, 48 IP, 53 H, 15 BB, 43 K, .277 BA, 3 HR) and was also in the rotation most of the season before being taken out before the Long Beach series after he allowed 11 R in 2 IP in his start at Riverside. He had been fairly effective in four starts before that, allowing 10 R in 27 IP, including a CG win against UC Davis when he allowed 1 R. Tremlin is similar to Juarez because his big issue has been getting too much of the plate with his pitches and giving up too many HR’s. He does a solid job of holding baserunners (5-10 SB’s). Tremlin has allowed 2 R in 4 IP in three appearances in his career against Fullerton.


Northridge has a good closer and they been willing to the bullpen early and often with seven pitchers having double digit relief appearances. The Matadors are 24-0 when leading after six innings so if they get out to a lead it won’t be a good sign.

The closer is SR #12 Jimmy Jolicoeur (RHP – 5-1, 3.83 ERA, 4 saves, 27 apps, 2 starts, 54 IP, 44 H, 20 BB, 38 K, .223 BA, 9 HR, 10 HBP, 5 WP) who has a good arm (2nd in the Big West in opps AVG among eligible pitchers) and would be able to go 2-3 IP to finish off a game. He has made two starts, going 6 IP (1 R, 5 H) against Bakersfield and 4 1/3 IP against UC Davis (4 H, 6 R). Jolicoeur threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings to get the win in extra innings last Friday against Long Beach. The one area that he has had trouble with is giving up the long ball because he is a fly ball pitcher. Jolicoeur allowed 1 R on 2 H in 1 2/3 IP in two appearances against Fullerton last season.

Northridge doesn’t have a designated set-up man, although whoever doesn’t start on Sun between Tremlin and Juarez would be likely to be one of the first relievers to come into a game along with SR #10 Brian Longpre (RHP – 2-1, 4.29 ERA, 23 apps, 36 IP, 53 H, 11 BB, 26 K, .351 BA, 1 HR, 7 HBP, 2 WP), who threw five innings (12 H, 7 R, 2 ER) on Monday against San Diego in his longest outing of the season.

Other relievers that could see action this weekend are midweek SP JC transfer #27 Shawn Wilyman (RHP – 1-4, 6.36 ERA, 18 apps, 7 starts, 52 IP, 65 H, 24 BB, 30 K, .316 BA, 6 HR, 6 HBP, 10 WP) and southpaws FR #14 Trevor Fredrickson (LHP – 0-0, 3.55 ERA, 13 apps, 13 IP, 15 H, 5 BB, 6 K, .294 BA, 2 HR, 3 HBP, 4 WP) and FR #26 Jacob Petersen (RHP – 1-0, 6.88 ERA, 14 apps, 17 IP, 20 H, 3 BB, 13 K, .290 BA, 5 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP).


The long and winding road that has been the regular season for Fullerton reaches the finish line this weekend. The Titans started out about as poorly as possible by winning only seven of their first sixteen games. Fullerton has gone 31-6 since then by finishing up their non-conference schedule in strong fashion and dominating the Big West conference. The Titans are going to have to make sure they don’t overlook Northridge this weekend because they still have a chance of securing one of the eight national seeds.

Northridge brings an offense into Goodwin Field that has the potential to create all sorts of problems for the Fullerton pitching staff. The Matadors have been red hot at the plate and have scored 53 runs the last six games. However, because Northridge has several hitters that are prone to striking out they are also vulnerable to being shut down like they were in series losses to Irvine, Riverside, Pacific and Bakersfield when they averaged barely over three runs per game. Northridge’s offense also usually hasn’t been as good away from their home ballpark.

Fullerton’s offense has been on fire over the last 22 games and even in the two games that they lost during that stretch the team scored ten runs each time. Northridge pitched well against Long Beach last weekend but over the course of the season they have tended to give up runs in bunches. The Matadors also play poor defense and with the way that the Titans have been hitting, that isn’t a good combination.

The key to this weekend is going to be the approach that Fullerton takes to this series. Northridge has only gone 2-7 against the Titans the last three years but three of the losses were by one or two runs so the Matadors have been competitive most of the time. If Fullerton comes out flat they will have their hands full and Northridge will give them trouble. If the Titans come out with the focus that they have shown over the last two months then Fullerton should win what looks like it could be a high scoring series between two of the best offenses in the Big West.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Third National Championship: 1995

The Titans won their final 18 games, swept through the Baton Rouge Regional and the College World Series. Fullerton defeated USC, 11-5, in the championship game, capping off a 57-9 season, considered by consensus as the greatest in college baseball history.

Mark Kotsay, the team's star sophomore center fielder and closer, was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Diamond Club Newsletter (May 23, 2010)

CSF Baseball will continue to host and archive the Diamond Club newsletters throughout the 2010 season. Click on each page to enlarge:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Santa Clara Series Preview

By FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton (34-15, 18-3) wrapped up the Big West championship last weekend with two weeks to go in the regular season with a sweep at Long Beach State (12-2, 8-0, 6-4) to improve their record to 16-1 over 17 games before having their seven game winning streak snapped on Tuesday in an 11-10 loss to LMU. The Titans have hit .378 and averaged nearly 10 runs per game over the last 18 games. The leading hitters for Fullerton in the sweep at Long Beach were Christian Colon (5-15, 2 HR, 8 RBI and his first career grand slam), Billy Marcoe (6-14, 5 RBI) and Carlos Lopez (5-13, 4 RBI).

The starting pitching for Fullerton was dominant for the second straight weekend with Noe Ramirez, Daniel Renken and Dylan Floro combining to hold Long Beach to three runs in 22 2/3 IP for a stellar 1.19 ERA. Ramirez allowed 1 R in 7 IP to set the tone for the weekend on Friday and Floro allowed 2 R in 6 2/3 IP to help finish off the sweep on Sunday but the highlight of the series was Renken throwing a complete game shutout to earn a share of Big West pitcher of the week honors, the second consecutive week that a Titans pitcher received that award. Fullerton is looking to bounce back after their midweek loss and get back to their winning ways in a non-conference series this weekend against the Santa Clara Broncos.

Santa Clara (21-27, 6-12) thought they would have a chance to improve on their 19-34, 6-15 record from 2009 despite losing six of nine hitters who had 100+ AB’s with almost all of their pitching staff returning from last season. However, the Broncos have been very inconsistent with their mostly new lineup leading the WCC in several hitting categories while the pitching staff has struggled and ranks near the bottom of their conference. Santa Clara has come up on the short end of seven series, including sweeps in WCC series by San Diego, Portland and St. Mary’s, with their only series wins coming against San Jose State and Princeton in non-conf series and Pepperdine and Gonzaga in WCC series.


Santa Clara didn’t expect to have one of the better offenses in the WCC after losing so many starters from 2009 but their younger players have come along quickly and they have gotten strong seasons from the three veterans in the lineup, although one of them is injured and will be out this weekend. The Broncos lead the WCC in scoring, averaging about seven runs per game, AVG (.320), OBP (.405), SLG (.464) and walks. Santa Clara is primarily a contact hitting and gap hitting team that is next to last in the conf in HR’s (with one hitter having 12 of their 32 HR’s) and have struck out the fewest times in the WCC, averaging a little over five strikeouts per game. Most of the Broncos don’t bunt much, with two hitters accounting for 16 of their 24 SAC bunts, and they do a good job of stealing bases when they run (44-58 SB’s).

As you would expect with an inexperienced team, Santa Clara has struggled defensively and has committed 67 errors for a .963 FLD %, which is 7th in the WCC, and turned only 27 DP’s. Much of the inconsistency has been due to the Broncos shuffling players around both in the infield as well as the outfield.


After losing most of their infielders from last season, Santa Clara has been starting mostly newcomers with the exception of their catcher.

C – SR #27 Geoff Klein (Both – .339/.427/.519, 5-42-2; ’09 stats – .379/.432/.547, 5-56-1) is the only veteran in the infield and has had a solid SR season at the plate as the cleanup hitter and is in the top ten in the WCC in H, RBI, TB, 2B, BB and OBP. Klein has had issues behind the plate and has allowed 62 WP’s/PB’s and baserunners are 55-69 on SB attempts.

1B – FR #17 Ryan Rieger (LH – .275/.326/.388, 0-12-1) was a part-time DH for most of the season but has moved into the lineup at 1B and hit 5th or 6th the last four games due to the season ending wrist injury to JR Curtis Wagner, who is leading the WCC in AVG (.404) and OBP (.533).

DH – FR #25 Pat Stover (RH –.297/.341/.436, 2-30-2) is a big guy with power potential who has played some 1B but has primarily been the DH and batted 5th or 6th. He has seen less time lately while hitting .172 in conf games.

2B – FR #10 Drew Ozanne (RH – .333 in 39 AB’s, 0-12-0) was a backup for most of the season but has moved into the lineup the last few weeks and usually hits in the lower part of the lineup. He has made four errors in limited play.

SS – JC transfer #6 Evan Peters (RH – .328/.399/.443, 2-21-1) has started every game and done a solid job while usually hitting 2nd. He does a good job of handling the bat and is tied for the team lead with 8 SAC’s. Peters has good range at SS but has made 13 errors.

3B – FR #7 Blake Leyva (RH – .299/.355/.315, 0-23-5) has been in the lineup most of the time but usually hits 8th or 9th because he doesn’t have much power (only 2 extra base hits). Leyva has played well defensively and only made two errors. Leyva and Ozanne could switch spots in the field this weekend during one or two games like they did at UC Davis on Wednesday.


Santa Clara has a more experienced outfield than infield with some reserves after returning from 2009 as well as having their best player from 2008 coming back from a medical redshirt.

LF – JR #8 Tommy Medica (RH – .386/.465/.580, 12-54-14; ’08 stats – .342/.438/.509, 5-56-1) was a U.S. national team member in 2007 as a catcher and was expected to be drafted in the first few rounds last June before suffering a season ending shoulder injury a couple of weeks into the season and taking a medical redshirt. He has returned this year as an outfielder and has returned with a vengeance. Medica bats 3rd and is in the top three in the WCC in AVG, SLG, OBP, HR, RBI, R, H, 2B, TB and SB so he obviously is the best player for Santa Clara and one of the best players in their conference.

SR #33 Patrick Terry (RH – .322/.363/.470, 3-18-2) has been getting more playing time lately in LF and hitting 6th and when he is in the lineup Medica will shift over to RF.

CF – FR #15 Matt Ozanne (RH – .396 in 48 AB’s, 2-13-3) has only been in the lineup for the last few weeks but has been on fire and provided a spark for the lineup in the leadoff spot.

RF – Soph #4 Lucas Herbst (LH – .323/.375/.422, 3-12-9; ‘09 stats – .212 in 66 AB’s) handles the bat well and is tied for the team lead with 8 SAC’s. He is also one of the faster runners on the team and is in the top ten in the WCC in 3B’s and SB’s. He was starting in CF until the emergence of Ozanne there.


Santa Clara expected to have a much improved pitching staff despite having a 6.31 team ERA in 2009 with just about their entire pitching staff returning. But, an inconsistent pitching staff has once again held the Broncos down and they are 6th in the WCC with a 5.90 team ERA. Santa Clara has some solid arms on their staff and are 2nd in the WCC in K’s but they are next to last in the conf in BB’s, have allowed teams to hit .318 and given up 37 HR’s (6th in the conf in both categories). One thing the Santa Clara pitchers will do is throw often to first to hold runners because they have picked off 23 runners so that will be a key area to watch with Fullerton looking to send runners often. The Broncos have an all RHP staff so there won’t be any switching going on this weekend to bring in LHP’s vs. LH hitters.


Fri SP – SR #9 Nate Garcia (RHP – 3-8, 6.31 ERA, 12 starts, 77 IP, 99 H, 35 BB, 98 K, .311 BA, 8 HR, 5 HBP, 10 WP) is a hard thrower who is 2nd in the WCC in K’s and expected to have a better SR season after being solid last year (’09 stats – 7-5, 4.33 ERA, 96 IP, 95 H, 30 BB, 96 K, .260 BA, 5 HR). He has had issues with his control and when he has gotten the ball over the plate, his fastball has often straightened out and allowed hitters to tee off. After a poor start at San Diego when he allowed 8 R in 5 IP, it looked like Garcia had turned the corner when he allowed 3 R in each of his starts against St. Mary’s and Gonzaga before he allowed 10 R in 6 IP in his most recent start against USF. Garcia has a good move to first and has picked off four runners but is slow to the plate and has allowed runners to go 18-22 on SB attempts over the last two seasons.

Sat SP – SR #1 Alex Rivers (RHP – 5-7, 4.43 ERA, 12 starts, 3 CG, 85 IP, 103 H, 30 BB, 69 K, .301 BA, 2 HR, 7 HBP, 9 WP) is a ground ball specialist who relies on control and spotting his fastball to get batters out and is in his second year as a SP (’09 stats – 4-4, 4.85 ERA, 78 IP, 79 H, 32 BB, 67 K, .271 BA, 6 HR). He has been Santa Clara’s best SP in conf games and threw a three hit shutout at Pepperdine and a CG at Gonzaga when he allowed 3 R. When Rivers hasn’t been sharp teams have been able to hit him and he allowed 9 R (4 ER) on 10 H in 6 2/3 IP in his most recent start against USF and allowed 13 R (10 ER) on 21 H in 12 2/3 IP in his two starts between his CG’s against Pepperdine and Gonzaga. Rivers also has a good move to first and has picked off five runners but when baserunners have gotten a jump, it has usually resulted in a stolen base because he has allowed 34-43 on SB attempts the last two years.

Sun SP – FR #30 Chris Mendoza (RHP – 4-5, 5.34 ERA, 13 apps, 10 starts, 1 CG, 62 IP, 84 H, 21 BB, 32 K, .328 BA, 3 HR, 9 HBP, 6 WP) doesn’t throw hard and relies on spotting his fastball and keeping the ball down to get hitters out. He had a good start at Gonzaga three weeks ago when he allowed 1 R in 8 IP but has started to wear down and in his three other conf starts he allowed 17 R (12 ER) on 27 H before allowing 7 R on 6 H in 2/3 IP in his start Wednesday at UC Davis. Baserunners are 6-8 on SB attempts against Mendoza.


Santa Clara has gotten solid results from their closer and main set-up man with an 18-1 record when leading after 7 innings and 18-0 when leading after 8 innings but when teams have gotten into their bullpen early and the Broncos have had to use other relievers, the results haven’t been good.

The closer is Soph #13 J.R. Graham (RHP – 1-1, 4.07 ERA, 21 apps, 4 saves, 24 IP, 32 H, 10 BB, 18 K, .320 BA, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 3 WP) and he will usually only be used for one inning or so. The set-up man for Graham is SR #31 Steve Kalush (RHP – 2-0, 3.65 ERA, 17 apps, 25 IP, 27 H, 12 BB, 25 K, .281 BA, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 4 WP), who has the best ERA and opps AVG on the staff and is usually available for 2-3 innings.

Other relievers that could see action this weekend are midweek SP’s FR #11 Jon Hughes (RHP – 2-2, 7.53 ERA, 13 apps, 7 starts, 43 IP, 54 H, 24 BB, 50 K, .305 BA, 6 HR, 6 HBP, 9 WP) and FR #21 Brock Simon (RHP – 1-2, 7.79 ERA, 1 save, 18 apps, 7 starts, 35 IP, 46 H, 12 BB, 22 K, .317 BA, 5 HR, 4 HBP, 6 WP), JR #38 Cory Hall (RHP – 2-0, 6.64 ERA, 15 apps, 20 IP, 34 H, 7 BB, 18 K, .358 BA, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP), FR #23 Rhett Nelson (RHP – 1-0, 7.59 ERA, 12 apps, 11 IP, 20 H, 2 BB, 6 K, .385 BA, 3 HR, 1 HBP, 0 WP), Soph #35 Jason Westerberg (0-1, 8.50 ERA, 16 apps, 18 IP, 24 H, 11 BB, 17 K, .316 BA, 2 HR, 2 HBP, 2 WP) and Soph #39 Paul Twining (0-1, 9.00 ERA, 17 apps, 19 IP, 33 H, 12 BB, 20 K, .384 BA, 3 HR, 1 HBP, 0 WP).


With the Big West title all wrapped up, one would could draw the conclusion that there isn’t much motivation for Fullerton over the next two weekends but that isn’t be the case. The Titans still have quite a bit to play for with a strong chance to secure a bid to host a regional at Goodwin Field and a decent chance for a national seed, depending on how things play out with other teams that Fullerton is competing against for the last couple of national seeds.

Santa Clara has a puncher’s chance this weekend with an offense that has scored at least six runs in 27 games and some starting pitchers that have had their moments. But, their offense has been shut down by the solid pitching staffs of San Diego, Pepperdine and Portland so if the Fullerton SP’s continue to throw well they should have some success. And, despite the loss of Gary Brown, the Titans were still able to score ten runs against LMU and should still be able continue to put up a high number of runs this weekend against the Broncos pitching staff.

Fullerton has been on an extended 27-6 roll the last two months with three straight weekend sweeps at Goodwin Field while Santa Clara has struggled while losing four of their six WCC series and is only 6-12 on the road. The Titans should be able to take control of this series because they are the better team and if they are on their game and stay focused, Fullerton has a very good chance to sweep this series.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Diamond Club Newsletter (May 16, 2010)

CSF Baseball will continue to host and archive the Diamond Club newsletters throughout the 2010 season. Click on each page to enlarge:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Long Beach State Series Preview

By FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton (31-14, 15-3) moved one step closer towards winning the Big West championship last weekend with a sweep of UC Riverside (6-4, 9-1, 6-0) and followed that up on Wednesday with a 10-7 win at Pepperdine. The Titans continued their strong hitting by batting .396 on the weekend and have hit .391 and averaged nearly 10 runs per game while winning 13 of their last 14 games. Leading the way at the plate against Riverside were Christian Colon (7-12, 5 RBI), Gary Brown (6-12, 2 HR, 5 RBI), Carlos Lopez (6-10, 1 HR, 3 RBI) and Corey Jones (6-8, 1 RBI).

Unlike last week against San Diego and Pacific when the Fullerton pitching staff struggled in three of four games, they were dominant in holding Riverside to five runs and a paltry .204 average in the series. Fullerton received a boost from the return of Noe Ramirez on Friday night (6 IP, 3 R, 7 H) after a three week absence, got strong outings from Daniel Renken (5 IP, 1 R, 5 H) and Colin O’Connell (4 hitless innings) in a game that started on Saturday and ended on Sunday due to a power outage and the sweep was finished by Dylan Floro in a CG shutout that earned him Big West pitcher of the week honors. Fullerton’s magic number to win the Big West is four and they could clinch at least a share of the conference championship this weekend by winning all three games (or win the title outright if Irvine also loses a game) and would like nothing better than to finish things off against their long time rivals, the Long Beach State Dirtbags.

Long Beach (22-23, 7-8) shared the conference championship with Fullerton in 2008 but lost quite a bit of talent off of that team and had a poor season in 2009, finishing 25-29, 11-13 (tied for 5th) for their first losing season since 1988. The Dirtbags expected to contend for a spot in a regional this year with a much more experienced team with seven starting position players and two weekend starting pitchers returning. Long Beach got off to a slow start losing 2 of 3 games twice in the first three weekends (including an 8-1 loss to Fullerton opening weekend) before hitting their stride by winning four straight weekend series, including the conference opening series against Pacific. The Dirtbags have hit the skids since the Pacific series and have lost four of their last five series, including series losses to lower level Big West teams UC Davis and Cal Poly. Long Beach lost a non-conference series last weekend to Stanford when they lost two one run games before coming back to win the final game. The big news this week at Long Beach occurred when Mike Weathers announced his retirement after nine years as head coach of the Dirtbags with assistant coach Troy Buckley taking over after the season, which means Long Beach will have even more motivation this weekend in this rivalry series.


Long Beach was a poor hitting team in 2009 when they hit .289 with a .370 OBP and .394 SLG % and averaged six runs per game (7th in the Big West in all of those categories) while hitting only 24 HR’s (8th in the conference) and striking out seven times per game (3rd most in the conf). The Dirtbags got off to a slow start at the plate this season and are hitting only .286 and averaging six runs per game in non-conf games. Long Beach’s bats heated up once Big West play started and they hit a scorching .346 in their first five conf series and averaged nearly eight runs per game, both of which are second to Fullerton in conference games. As a result of their recent hot hitting the Dirtbags have upped their team average up to .308 for the season (4th in the conf). Long Beach doesn’t hit the ball out of the yard often with only 23 HR’s (next to last in the Big West) playing in cavernous Blair Field but they do have good gap power and are 2nd in the conf with 108 doubles. The Dirtbags have long been known as a little ball team and were 2nd in the Big West in 2009 with 118 SB’s and 61 SAC’s and are still bunting quite a bit with 45 SAC’s but they aren’t running quite as much or as successfully this season with 52 SB’s in 87 attempts.

Long Beach’s defense was around the middle of the pack in 2009 with a .966 FLD % and 68 errors and the Dirtbags defense has been a little better this season with a .970 FLD % and 51 errors. What has hurt Long Beach is they have tended to make untimely errors that have led to 48 unearned runs and turned several wins into losses, such as the final game of their series at Cal Poly when the Mustangs scored the winning run on an error. The primary culprit has been infield defense with 40 errors by their infielders despite having an experienced infield. The Dirtbags have very good outfield defense, which is necessary with the large dimensions at Blair Field, and their OF’s have committed only one error all season.


Long Beach is the third straight conference team that Fullerton is playing that has an experienced infield. The only new starter for the Dirtbags is at 3B.

C – SR #3 Kellen Hoime (RH – .220/.280/.275, 1-14-6; ’09 stats – .252/.338/.291, 0-19-5) started 16 of the last 18 games in 2009 after splitting time earlier in the year and has been the regular C this season. He is in the lineup for his defense, will usually bat 9th and has 6 SAC’s. Hoime has struck out nearly one-third of the time. Long Beach has allowed 41 WP’s/PB’s and runners are 22-33 on SB attempts against Hoime. He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton and is 0-7 in his career against the Titans. Backup Joel Thys (Both – .171 in 41 AB’s) has started 11 games.

1B – SR #6 Steve Tinoco (RH – .349/.403/.430, 1-41-1; ‘09 stats – .343/.379/.543, 5-30-5) is 5th in the conf in RBI and was 2nd on the team in HR’s and SLG% in 2009. He started off slowly in the run production dept but has gotten hot during the conf season and has 22 RBI in 15 Big West games despite usually batting 7th. Tinoco is average defensively and has made five errors. He went 3-4 in the first game against Fullerton and is 6-19 with an HR in his career against the Titans.

2B – Soph #8 Kirk Singer (RH – .325/.409/.544, 5-19-5; ’09 stats – .317 in 41 AB’s) didn’t play much last year and was still in a utility role earlier this year backing up at 2B, SS and 3B until his hot bat forced Long Beach to make a switch and Singer was inserted into the lineup at 2B. He usually hits 2nd and is 2nd on the team in HR’s and SLG. Singer has good range but is used to playing on the left side of the infield and has made eight errors.

Soph #4 Derek Legg (Both – .207/.280/.244, 0-9-1; ’09 stats – .304/.382/.376, 1-20-11) started last year as a FR and was starting earlier this season before the lineup was shuffled. He has 7 SAC’s so he will usually be asked to drop a bunt down when the situation calls for it and will usually bat 8th or 9th. He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton and is 2-15 in his career against the Titans.

SS – JR #5 Devin Lohman (RH – .415/.482/.565, 1-24-7; ’09 stats – .307/.409/.432, 4-36-14) has had an outstanding season, is projected to be selected in the first 5-10 rounds of the draft and is the latest in a long line of SS prospects at Long Beach. He will usually hit 3rd and is in the top ten in the Big West in AVG (2nd), OBP (2nd), 2B (6th), H (9th) and SLG (10th). Lohman started the season off well and has gotten even hotter in conf games, hitting .455 against Big West opponents. He was 2nd in the conf in 2009 with 48 K’s but has done a much better job of making contact and has struck out 25 times this year. Lohman has struggled defensively and leads the conf with 14 errors. He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton and is 2-13 in his career against the Titans. Lohman is questionable for this weekend after injuring his hamstring in the first inning last Friday against Stanford and missing the rest of the series and the midweek game against USC. If Lohman is unable to play, Singer would play SS and Legg would play 2B.

Soph #7 Joey Terdoslavich (Both – .326/.382/.500, 6-40-3; .293-5-25-2 in 2008) sat out last season after transferring from Miami and has been making up for lost time and is in the top ten in the Big West in HR (10th) and RBI (7th) while hitting cleanup. He got off to a very slow start but has been hitting much better lately and has hit .371 with 2 HR and 14 RBI in conf games. Terdoslavich has decent range at 3B but has made nine errors. He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton.


Long Beach returned all of their OF’s from last season so it was expected that this would be a strong area for the Dirtbags and their OF’s have delivered.

LF – JR #40 Jonathon Jones (RH – .317/.394/.469, 2-21-6; ’09 stats – .307/.388/.375, 1-23-15) has good speed and was the starting CF in 2008 and has been the LF the last two seasons. He was one of several hitters who got off to slow starts but he has gotten hot in Big West games, hitting .352 with 11 RBI while usually batting 5th. Jones handles the bat well and is 3rd in the Big West with 8 SAC bunts. He went 0-3 in the first game against Fullerton and is 8-20 in his career against the Titans.

CF – Soph #12 Brennan Metzger (RH – .331/.433/.479, 1-19-9; ’09 stats – .258/.389/.337, 1-9-11) has good speed and has been hitting leadoff after being a part-time player in 2009. He is a scrappy player who will do whatever he can to get on base (leads the Big West with 17 HBP’s) and will run when he gets on base (10th in the Big West in SB’s). Metzger has very good range in CF. He went 1-3 in the first game against Fullerton.

RF – SR #23 TJ Mittelstaedt (LH – .323/4/.395/.500, 1-27-6; ‘09 stats – .316/.416/.551, 6-46-6) led the team in HR’s, RBI’s, BB’s, OBP, 2B’s, 3B’s and SLG in 2009 and was one of the few bright spots in a miserable season for Long Beach. He got off to a very slow start and was hitting under .250 during the non-conf season but has heated up during Big West games, hitting .442 with 14 RBI despite hitting in the 8th spot in the order most of the time, although he has hit 3rd the last three games with Lohman out. Mittelstaedt is average defensively but will make plays on everything that he gets to. He went 1-4 in the first game against Fullerton and is 10-30 with 4 RBI’s in his career against the Titans, including 3-11 last season when all three hits were triples.

DH – JR #20 Jordan Casas (LH – ’09 stats – .308/.335/.362, 0-25-22) was the leadoff hitter and CF in 2009 and was 2nd in the conf in SB’s but he has struggled, been benched for awhile and is just now starting to play better after going 12-38 over the last 10 games. Casas is 3rd in the Big West with 8 SAC bunts and will usually hit 6th but hit at the top of the order the last three games with Lohman out. He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton and is 6-28 in his career against the Titans.


The foundation of Long Beach’s program over the years has been a dominant pitching staff that takes advantage of the spacious dimensions at Blair Field. Last year the wheels came off the tracks for the Dirtbags and their team ERA was in the middle of the pack in the conference at 5.18. There was hope going into this season with the return of Troy Buckley as the pitching coach after a two year absence during which he was working in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system along with the return of two starting pitchers who are projected to be pretty high draft picks. The team ERA for Long Beach has come down to 4.42 (3rd in the conf) and batters are hitting over 30 points less with the opponents AVG coming down from .303 to .269 (2nd best in the Big West). The starting pitching has been a little inconsistent but has generally been solid. What has sunk the hopes for the Dirtbags to get back to the post-season has been a group of relievers and midweek starters that has been responsible for eight losses when Long Beach was tied or had leads late in games and gone 4-6 during midweek games.


Fri SP – Soph #24 Andrew Gagnon (RHP – 5-5, 2.83 ERA, 12 starts, 76 IP, 72 H, 22 BB, 59 K, .242 BA, 4 HR, 11 HBP, 5 WP) was drafted in the 10th round out of HS and didn’t pitch up to that level last year (’09 stats – 3-7, 6.32 ERA, 13 starts, 73 IP, 96 H, 23 BB, 44 K, .327 BA, 5 HR, 11 HBP, 9 WP). He has had a great deal of improvement this season and is 3rd in the conf in ERA and AVG and 8th in K and IP. Gagnon has a low 90’s fastball and good control (2 BB or less in 9 of the last 11 starts) but he will pitch inside and has hit 11 batters (3rd in the conf) and he has done a much better job of missing bats, lowering the AVG that teams are hitting against him by 85 points. He started the season as the Sat SP but moved into the Fri spot after the first three weeks and has a 2.43 ERA in conf games and allowed 3 ER or less in seven of his last eight starts, with his only poor start at Riverside last month when he allowed 7 R in 5 2/3. Gagnon does not do a good job holding runners (19-28 SB’s the last two years). He allowed 6 R in 2 2/3 IP in his start against Fullerton last season.

Sat SP – JR #36 Jake Thompson (RHP – 5-2, 4.99 ERA, 12 starts, 79 IP, 86 H, 21 BB, 67 K, .286 BA, 2 HR, 10 HBP, 11 WP) is projected to be drafted in the first five rounds next month but hasn’t been consistent, which has been a big issue for him during his three years in the rotation (’09 stats – 4-7, 5.61 ERA, 14 starts, 85 IP, 103 H, 13 BB, 42 K, .302 BA, 9 HR, 10 HBP, 5 WP). He has a 7.11 ERA in conf starts and allowed 5+ R in 3 out of 4 starts before having a strong start against Stanford, allowing only 1 R before giving up a 2 run HR with two outs in the top of the 9th. Thompson is 2nd in the conf in K and has a low 90’s sinking fastball and has done a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark this year. He pitches inside and has hit 10 batters (7th in the conf). Thompson does a very good job of controlling the running game (6-15 SB’s the last two years). He has allowed 12 R on 19 H in 11 IP in his two starts against Fullerton in his career.

Sun SP – JC transfer #22 Branden Pinder (RHP – 4-5, 4.15 ERA, 12 starts, 74 IP, 82 H, 16 BB, 41 K, .293 BA, 9 HR, 15 HBP, 2 WP) has done a solid job and is 10th in the conf in ERA. His fastball sits in the mid 80’s and he relies on very good control and spotting his fastball to get hitters out. Pinder pitches inside and he leads the Big West with 15 HBP’s. He had a very good stretch in the middle of the season where he had five straight starts when he allowed 2 R or less but he has started to wear down and get the ball up, allowing 5+ R in three of his last four starts. Pinder has done a solid job at holding runners (5-8 SB’s). He allowed 5 R (4 ER) in 6 IP in his start against Fullerton earlier this season.


The bullpen has only recorded three saves and has been responsible for eight losses as well as a poor midweek record and is one of the main reasons why Long Beach will not be playing in the post-season for the second straight season. The two main options that the Dirtbags will use late in games are SR #44 Jason Markovitz (LHP – 2-1, 2.95 ERA, 20 apps, 1 save, 20 IP, 16 H, 11 BB, 29 K, .213 BA, 1 HR, 2 HBP, 2 WP) and SR #39 David Brown (RHP – 2-2, 4.26 ERA, 19 apps, 1 save, 19 IP, 20 H, 10 BB, 11 K, .274 BA, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 3 WP). Markovitz is tough on LH hitters but both walk too many hitters and Brown has been prone to giving up the big hit in key situations.

Other relievers that could see action this weekend are FR #32 Nate Underwood (RHP – 2-1, 3.86 ERA, 11 apps, 4 midweek starts, 28 IP, 23 H, 5 BB, 6 K, .237 BA, 2 HR, 0 HBP, 2 WP), who threw four scoreless innings against USC on Wed, FR #16 Eddie Magallon (RHP – 1-1, 4.04 ERA, 1 save, 11 apps, 4 midweek starts, 36 IP, 31 H, 7 BB, 22 K, .240 BA, 5 HR, 4 HBP, 1 WP), who three scoreless innings for the save against Stanford on Sunday, JC transfer #27 Cris Trout (RHP – 1-0, 3.93 ERA, 20 apps, 18 IP, 13 H, 7 BB, 17 K, .191 BA, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 1 WP), JC transfer #38 Kenny Arnerich (RHP – 0-3, 5.65 ERA, 17 apps, 14 IP, 18 H, 8 BB, 8 K, .310 BA, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP), and situational LHP #49 FR Ryan Donohue (0-1, 5.40 ERA, 9 apps, 3 1/3 IP, 4 H, 5 BB, 5 K).


The complexion of this series changed on Tuesday when Mike Weathers announced his retirement. What began as a series with Long Beach playing out the string and not playing for much but pride in a rivalry series changed to the Dirtbags trying to go out and win a series for their outgoing coach in his last series against their rivals. Besides that additional motivational factor and playing this series at home, not much else favors Long Beach this weekend.

The Dirtbags have been hitting well during the Big West season but have been able to be cooled off by front line pitching like they were last weekend in the first two games against Stanford. As well as Long Beach has been hitting the ball, Fullerton has been even better at the plate and the Titans bring the better offense into this series. In the field, Fullerton has been a pretty consistent fielding team most of the time while the Dirtbags have been struggling with being error prone in their infield, which is not good with the pressure that the Titans put on teams with their offense.

Long Beach’s pitching has improved this season with Troy Buckley returning to coach their pitchers and their rotation has usually been more consistent than they were in 2009 but the front end of the Fullerton rotation has been clicking on all cylinders despite some shuffling around due to injuries. Also, the back end of the Dirtbags staff has been finding ways to blow games all season while the Fullerton pitchers have been reliable at the end of games.

Fullerton has been on an extended roll by going 24-5 after starting the season out at 7-9. Long Beach’s season has sputtered out over the last month after they played well in the middle of the year but the Dirtbags have the hitting and front line pitching to win this series if they start clicking on all cylinders this weekend. Fullerton has dominated Long Beach in the four meetings over the last two seasons by a combined score of 34-8 and as long as the Titans continue to play like they have the past two months and don’t get too wrapped up in the emotion of a rivalry series, Fullerton should win this series.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Diamond Club Newsletter (May 9, 2010)

CSF Baseball will continue to host and archive the Diamond Club newsletters throughout the 2010 season. Click on each page to enlarge:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Titans on CWS Legends Team

The Three Titans on the CWS Legends Team. Of course, Augie in a Fullerton uniform, the way it should be:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

UC Riverside Series Preview

By FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton (27-14, 12-3) had another good week last week with a comeback win at San Diego that was highlighted by a game winning grand slam by Carlos Lopez and a series win at Pacific last weekend. The Titans won the first two games against the Tigers to stretch their winning streak to nine games before dropping the final game of the series. Fullerton’s bats were on fire again last week and they are hitting .393 and averaging over ten runs a game over the last ten games. The hottest hitters for the Titans were Corey Jones (8-15, 1 HR, 7 RBI), Nick Ramirez (8-19, 0 HR, 6 RBI), Richie Pedroza (8-18, 0 HR, 4 RBI), Gary Brown (7-17, 0 HR, 1 RBI) and Christian Colon (6-17, 0 HR, 6 RBI).

Fullerton’s pitchers struggled in three of the four games but the big story last week was the emergence of FR Dylan Floro, who followed up a good week against Pepperdine (win) and Cal Poly (save) with an outstanding Friday night start at Pacific when he allowed only two unearned runs on 3 H and 1 BB with 8 K’s. The Titans are now in very good shape in the Big West race with road series wins over two contenders (UC Irvine and Pacific) with the only team left that can catch Fullerton that they haven’t played yet coming into Goodwin Field this weekend – the UC Riverside Highlanders.

UC Riverside (23-15, 7-5) won the Big West in 2007, had a rebuilding year in 2008 when they were well under .500 and improved last year to 33-21 and 4th place in the conference. The Highlanders come into this series one game behind second place Irvine and they won 7 of 8 games before losing on Tuesday at San Diego. Riverside won conference series at home against Cal Poly and Long Beach and at UCSB with their lone series loss coming at Pacific. The Highlanders are going to have trouble making it into a regional as an at-large with a 71 RPI after a non-conference schedule of series against BYU, LMU, USF, St. Mary’s and Cal State Bakersfield. Riverside has a very experienced lineup that lost only one player (CF Carl Uhl) from last season but had to rebuild their pitching staff with only three pitchers returning who threw at least 30 innings in 2009.


Riverside is a team that has an interesting approach at the plate. The Highlanders have hit 40 HR’s (trailing only Fullerton) and have already passed last season’s total of 37 HR’s that was 6th in the conference. Riverside doesn’t strike out much for a team that focuses on hitting for power (2nd in the Big West in SLG) and averages under 6 K’s per game (3rd fewest in the Big West) but they aren’t patient at the plate either because they are last in the conference in walks – they sit on pitches they are looking for and square them up early in the count. The Highlanders are 6th in the conf with a .297 AVG, last in OBP and have scored the second fewest runs in the conference but they have been hot lately and have scored 5+ runs in 10 of their last 11 games. Riverside does not play much little ball and they are last in the Big West with 18 SAC’s and 14 SB’s.

Riverside was the third best fielding team in the Big West in 2009 with a .970 FLD % and 65 errors. The Highlanders expected to have a good fielding team again this season and they are 3rd in the conference with a .971 FLD % and have made 42 errors, the fewest in the Big West, although they have made ten errors in their last six games. Their middle infielders have solid range but have made 21 errors. They have good defense in CF and RF but have been using DH types in LF. Riverside does have a very good catcher who will make it tough on baserunners.


Similar to Pacific last week, Riverside had returning starters at all five positions but lost their one returning all-conf player in the infield (3B Ryan Goetz) to a knee injury early this season.

C – Soph #11 Robert Brantly (LH – .338/.408/.537, 5-26-0; ’09 – .316/.344/.454, 4-23-0) is the cleanup hitter, one of the better C’s on the west coast and is expected to be drafted in the first few rounds next month as a draft eligible Soph. He is on a ten game hitting streak during which he is hitting .425. Brantly does a solid job of working with the pitching staff, blocking pitches and throwing out baserunners (21-35 SB’s and three pickoffs). He went 1-7 in last year’s series against Fullerton. JR #9 Dan Pellegrino (RH – .282 in 39 AB’s with 2 HR’s, 6 RBI’s) is a solid backup who would be starting for many teams and might see time behind the plate in one game with Brantly moving to DH. He is 6-19 in his career against Fullerton.

1B – SR #16 Brian McConkey (LH – .324/.385/.507, 1-20-1; ’09 – .256/.384/.314, 0-17-2) is unusual for a 1B because he has mostly gap power and he is a leadoff hitter without much speed. He has been one of the better hitters on the team during Big West games with a .352 AVG and had a six game hitting streak snapped at San Diego. McConkey does a good job defensively and moves well around the 1B bag. He went 0-7 in last year’s series with Fullerton.

2B – SR #1 Brian Horst (RH – .261/.297/.377, 3-18-0; ’09 - .227/.306/.297, 1-14-4) is in the lineup primarily for his defense and will usually hit 8th. Horst has good range (started most of the non-conf season at SS in 2008 before getting hurt) and made only 7 E’s last year for a .969 FLD % but has struggled some this year and already made 10 E’s for a .948 FLD %. He went 1-7 in last year’s series with Fullerton.

SS – JR #10 Trevor Hairgrove (RH – .271/.356/.466, 4-19-0; ’09 – .251/.343/.371, 2-29-3) was hitting well over .300 going into the conf season last year but struggled in Big West games, when he hit only .145. Hairgrove has hit a little better this year and is 9-25 in his last six games but is in the lineup primarily for his defense and usually hits 9th. He has solid range at SS and is 4th in the conf in assists but has made 11 E’s this season. Hairgrove went 1-10 in last year’s series and is 6-23 in his career against Fullerton.

3B – Soph #24 Eddie Young (LH – .263/.340/.363, 0-14-1; ’09 – .250 in 24 AB’s) was expected to be a reserve infielder with 1st team all-conf 3B Ryan Goetz returning but he injured his knee early in the year and Young was thrust into the lineup. He is part of a platoon with Soph #5 Trent Jemmett (RH – .271 in 48 AB’s with 2 HR’s; ’09 – .136 in 22 AB’s) but Young should start all three games with Fullerton’s RHP heavy rotation and batting 7th. Young has not fielded well and has a .914 FLD %.


Carl Uhl was a three year starter in CF but he graduated, with one of the other OF’s moving over to CF and one of last year’s reserves moving into the lineup and being one of the most surprising hitters in the conference.

LF – JR #33 Justin Shults (LH – .385/.447/.726, 9-34-0; ’09 stats – .310 in 56 AB’s) was a reserve in 2009 who didn’t see much playing time but took advantage of his chance this year and has been mashing the ball while usually hitting 5th. He is the conf leader in SLG, 3rd in HR, 4th in AVG and 6th in OBP. Shults had a seven game stretch before last weekend where he went 15-27 with 6 HR and 14 RBI but has cooled off in his last four games, going 3-15.

CF – JR #15 Tony Nix (RH – .270/.353/.460, 3-14-2; ’09 – .318/.356/.514, 4-39-10) started in LF in 2009 and moved over to CF this year. He was on fire and hitting well over .400 going into the Big West schedule last season but came back to reality during conf games and only hit .208 against Big West pitching. Nix got off to a slow start and missed some time with injuries but has started to hit better and is 7-21 with 2 HR’s in his last five games and will usually hit 6th. He has solid range in CF. Nix went 1-11 in last year’s series against Fullerton.

RF – SR #3 Joey Gonzales (LH – .275/.338/.412, 3-16-6; ’09 – .261/.328/.418, 5-23-6) is one of the most experience players in the conference as a four year starter and was the Big West FR of the Year in 2007 and 2nd team all-conf in 2008 when he hit .330 with 15 SB’s. He struggled with minor injuries last season and got off to a slow start this year but has gotten hot and is on a ten game hitting streak, hitting .381 with 10 HR’s. Gonzales will usually hit 2nd and is the one SB threat in the lineup with nearly half of the team’s SB’s. He has good range in RF and played CF when Nix was out of the lineup. Gonzales went 1-9 in last year’s series and is 9-37 with one HR in his career against Fullerton.

DH – SR #25 Michael Hur (RH – .331/.386/.547, 6-29-2; ’09 stats – .372/.426/.583, 7-52-1) was 1st team all conf in 2009 after hitting .398 with 4 HR’s and 30 RBI in Big West games and was in the top ten in the conf in AVG, SLG and RBI. He will usually hit 3rd, is one of the most dangerous hitters in the lineup and went 6-13 last weekend at UCSB. Hur isn’t a good OF and will occasionally play LF. He went 2-10 in last year’s series with Fullerton and had a game winning 3 run HR in the Friday game.


Riverside had the most improved pitching staff in the Big West in 2009 with the team ERA coming down almost two runs to 4.22, which was 2nd in the conference, and the staff allowed the fewest walks and HR’s in the Big West and had the 2nd best opponents AVG at .275. Most of the pitchers who were responsible for putting up those numbers were drafted, leaving only one SP/RP and two RP’s returning from that staff, and the staff ERA has gone up about a run to 5.26. Those three returning pitchers have done a good job in the weekend rotation with a 15-8 record and a 4.02 ERA but the rest of the staff has struggled with a 7.11 ERA. The Riverside staff is once again doing a good job of throwing strikes (2nd in the conf in walks) and keeping the ball in the yard (fewest HR allowed) but they don’t have overpowering stuff, pitch to contact and are next to last in the conference in K’s and opponents AVG at .310.


Fri – Soph #35 Matt Andriese (RHP – 4-3, 4.68 ERA, 10 starts, 2 CG, 73 IP, 91 H, 10 BB, 54 K, .307 BA, 4 HR, 4 HBP, 4 WP) was the only SP returning from last year (’09 stats – 5-4, 3.93 ERA, 14 apps, 8 starts, 66 IP, 65 H, 20 BB, 37 K, .257 BA, 2 HR) and has done a solid job leading the rotation after being a swing man on the staff last year when he was 8th in the Big West in ERA. He is 5th in the conf in IP and 9th in K’s. Andriese has a fastball that sits in the low 90’s and a good slider that he buries to make hitters pound the ball into the ground with about a 2-1 groundout to flyout ratio. He started off slowly with a 8.15 ERA in his first three starts but has been better since then with a 3.66 ERA and allowed 5 R (4 ER) last weekend at UCSB and 4 R to Long Beach and 5 R to Pacific in his two previous conf starts. Andriese is a strike thrower with very good control and because he is around the plate so much, hitters have been able to make good contact and opponents are hitting over .300, including .320 in conf games. He does a good job of holding runners (4-9 SB’s). Andriese threw two scoreless innings with 2 H and 3 BB against Fullerton last year.

Sat – JR #34 Dustin Emmons (RHP – 6-3, 3.00 ERA, 11 apps, 9 starts, 1 CG, 63 IP, 75 H, 16 BB, 40 K, .302 BA, 1 HR, 8 HBP, 4 WP) did a good job out of the bullpen in 2009 (1-3, 2.80 ERA, 23 apps, 45 IP, 34 H, 16 BB, 29 K, .211 BA, 3 HR) and was a 2nd team all conf RP. He is another strike thrower and a ground ball pitcher. Emmons is 4th in the Big West in ERA and W’s. His opps AVG has gone up this season as hitters have seen him more than once through the lineup. Emmons has done a good job of keeping Riverside in games by allowing 3 ER or less in seven of his last eight starts. He allowed 11 R (8 ER) on 23 H in 13 IP in his starts against Pacific and Long Beach before bouncing back to hold Bakersfield and UCSB to 4 R (3 ER) in 14 IP in his last two starts. Emmons has not done a good job of holding runners (9-10 SB’s). He has allowed 6 R (0 ER) on 2 H and 2 BB in 5 2/3 IP in two apps against Fullerton.

Sun – JR #18 Matt Larkins (RHP – 5-2, 4.30 ERA, 10 starts, 61 IP, 64 H, 18 BB, 24 K, .283 BA, 3 HR, 6 HBP, 1 WP) pitched out of the bullpen last season (4-2, 3.86 ERA, 18 apps, 35 IP, 33 H, 15 BB, 32 K, .258 BA, 1 HR) after being a SP as a FR. He has given Riverside an advantage in most series on Sundays because he has only allowed more than 4 ER in one start (at ASU) and they have won each of the conf games he has started. Larkins doesn’t have overpowering stuff with a fastball that sits in the 88-90 range and gets hitters out by keeping them off balance and getting them to pop the ball up with a 1 1/2 to 1 flyout to groundout ratio. He does a very good job of holding runners (5-17 SB’s the last two years). Larkins threw a scoreless inning against the Titans last season and allowed 4 R (3 ER) on 13 H in 6 IP in his start at Fullerton in 2008.


With last year’s closer being drafted (Joe Kelly) and the other three relievers now in the rotation, Riverside has had to start over in the bullpen and the results generally haven’t been good. They do not have any LHP’s in their bullpen.

Closer – FR #17 Mitch Patito (RHP – 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 3 saves, 13 apps, 16 IP, 7 H, 9 BB, 18 K, .127 BA, 1 HR, 7 HBP, 0 WP) was pitching in middle relief until being moved into the closer role three weeks ago. He has a good arm with a low 90’s fastball and a solid curveball but command has been an issue and he is allowing a BB/HBP for each IP. Patito hasn’t blown a save in three chances.

JR #42 Mike Wolford (RHP – 3-1, 7.71 ERA, 4 saves, 17 apps, 21 IP, 33 H, 6 BB, 21 K, .359 BA, 3 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP) was the closer before several blown save chances resulted in him being moved into a middle reliever role.

JR #32 Derek Speigner (RHP – 2-1, 3.57 ERA, 1 save, 19 apps, 23 IP, 23 H, 14 BB, 18 K, .271 BA, 1 HR, 2 HBP, 0 WP) has usually been pretty solid in middle relief getting the ball to the closer and is 2nd in the conf in appearances.

The other relievers are midweek SP’s FR #14 Trevor Frank (RHP – 2-1, 7.13 ERA, 12 apps, 5 starts, 35 IP, 51 H, 11 BB, 18 K, .359 BA, 3 HR, 2 HBP, 3 WP) and Soph #21 Eddie Orozco (RHP – 0-2, 8.10 ERA, 5 apps, 3 starts, 13 IP, 19 H, 7 BB, 10 K, .358 BA, 0 HR, 4 HBP, 3 WP) along with SR #23 Kevin Dickey (RHP – 0-1, 20.25 ERA, 8 apps, 9 IP, 22 H, 7 BB, 6 K, .478 BA, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP).


Fullerton and Riverside come into this weekend playing some of their best baseball of the season with the Titans winning 9 of their last 10 games while the Highlanders have gone 7-2 in their last nine games. Fullerton has gone 20-4 over their last eight weekends while Riverside has gone 15-7 in winning six of their last seven series, with the only series loss coming at Pacific. The Titans have been mowing teams with 9 of their 12 Big West wins coming by 4+ runs while the Highlanders were playing closer games with 4 of their first 5 Big West wins coming by one or two runs before finishing up their series at UCSB with consecutive blowout wins.

Riverside is the only Big West team that has a winning record against Fullerton since 2002 when they joined the Big West as a full member and Irvine restarted their program. The Highlanders are 9-3 at home against the Titans while Fullerton has won two out of three games in all four series that the teams have played at Goodwin Field. Riverside knows they need to win this series to have much hope at getting into a regional next month and that they can play with Fullerton but the Titans seized some momentum in this series when they came back to win the final two games of the series last year at Riverside.

The key to this series for the Fullerton pitching staff will be keeping the ball in the yard. If the Riverside hitters are able to play HR derby, they will be able to stay in games and give themselves a chance to come out of Goodwin Field with a series win. The Fullerton starting pitchers have to work deep into games to keep the Highlanders from seeing much of what has lately been a questionable group of middle relievers.

Similarly to Fullerton, the key to this series for the Riverside pitching staff is to have their starting pitchers work deep into games and not let Fullerton get into their middle relief. The weakness for the Highlanders this year has been a bullpen that has blown several games, although that situation has calmed down with the change of closers. The Titans must put pressure on Riverside early at the plate and on the bases to get the Riverside starting pitchers out of their rhythm.

Riverside is a solid team that is playing well but they are only 9-10 away from home, where they haven’t lost a series and are 14-4. Fullerton has been the better team this season and they are playing at home, where the Titans have won nine of their last ten games. The Titans are a bit banged up right now but if Fullerton continues to play like they have the last eight weeks, although it won’t be easy (because it never is against Riverside for the Titans) they should be able to win two out of three games in this series.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Daily Titan Silent Auction

By Samuel Chi

On Saturday, the Daily Titan, Cal State Fullerton's student newspaper, held its 50th anniversary reunion. The event, aside from commemorating five decades of excellence, also served as the retirement party for Dean Rick Pullen, who decided to hang it up after 37 years at the school.

A number of items were donated for a silent auction to benefit scholarship funds in the names of Pullen and Jay Berman, a long-time Daily Titan adviser who shaped the careers of a number of excellent journalists. They ranged from autographed shoes of Bruce Bowen (procured by Marc Stein of, old newspaper collections and other memorabilia.

The Titan baseball team donated a number of items as well, including a jersey autographed by both coach Dave Serrano and former coach George Horton and a batting helmet autographed by Serrano and the entire 2010 team. Pullen, a long-time Titan baseball fan and season ticket holder, was given a white Titans jersey with his name on the back and the number of - 30 - (old journalism term for "The End").

A bidding war broke out for the autographed batting helmet, which was won by yours truly. I'm betting that this will be the works of the 2010 national champs.

Rick Pullen and Jay Berman